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Psychologist Offers a New Way to Spot a Lie

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Aired 5/15/09

Spotting a lie is a crucial part of police work. KPBS reporter Tom Fudge says a psychologist at San Diego's National University may have found a new way to do it.

— Spotting a lie is a crucial part of police work. KPBS reporter Tom Fudge says a psychologist at San Diego's National University may have found a new way to do it.

Observing the behaviors and physical reactions of people under interrogation is one way to try to spot a liar. But Cheryl Hiscock-Anisman says it's better to pay attention to the content of the answer. She says people who lie typically tell a story and stick to it. She says people who tell the truth, when asked multiple questions, tell the story differently each time. And each time they become more descriptive.

"People who are telling the truth progressively add more external details and contextual details," she says.

Hiscock-Anisman and her academic partner will train San Diego police investigators this summer. She says her method has proven to be 80 to 90 percent accurate when it comes to separating fact from fiction. Tom Fudge, KPBS news.

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